Apple Pay is coming to China tomorrow, February 18. This is part of Cupertino’s efforts to make the service the world’s leading mobile payment.
In the recent years, China has turned out to be a very important market for Apple – something that Google is looking at with envy. The iPhone maker discovered a fortune in the world’s most populated country, with the market coming in second position behind the U.S. as far as iPhone revenue is concerned. As a result, availing the service in the country was not an option.
Owners of Apple Pay enabled devices in China can from this Thursday start using this mobile payment system to make mobile payments and purchases as well. The service will be supported by China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC).
According to the ICBC, this service will be available across the country. However, the topmost bank in China will not be the only one supporting this project. Other players include China Guangfa Bank and China Construction Bank, Chinese state radio reported. To add on these two, Apple has also listed a number of banks (16) that it will work with to effectively and seamlessly offer this service in the country. However, these banks will join the bandwagon sooner than later.
Tough competition from WeChat Payment and Alipay
Apple will be happy to see that quite a number of Chinese banks are into the Apple Pay program. This is true because the same has not been the case when it comes to other major markets such as the UK. Despite the good news, the company still faces stiff competition in the Asian country thanks to the already-established mobile payment industry in the country.
China has WeChat Payment from Tencent and Alipay from Alibaba. These two are very common in the country when it comes to mobile payments. It will take Apple a fortune to topple them. Until now, it remains to be unclear whether the idea of Apple Pay being available on all latest iPhones will be a major factor in the service’s growth in the country.
There is even further competition coming from other non-local players such as Samsung. The South Korean tech giant, just like Apple, went for a partnership with UnionPay with an aim of making Samsung Pay available to the people of China. Nonetheless, Apple still has a better chance of succeeding in China, Asia and Europe in general than in the United States thanks to the already established mobile payment systems in these regions.
Speaking of Europe, 9to5Mac reports that Cupertino’s next destination with Apple Pay is France. But this might come in at a later time this year as the company looks to direct its efforts to China for now.